- Post is under moderationTALES OF THE UNEXPECTED Wild supercharged E90 M3
Karel Silha’s M3 has been evolving for a few years, getting ever madder and more frightening. As he teeters on the cusp of his next round of innovations, we pin down his green monster to see just how deeply this lunacy has spiraled… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
840HP E90 M3 Supercharged wide-arch beast
The most fun cars are the ones that do surprising things; ones that subvert your expectations and lead your preconceptions down a hitherto uncharted path. We’re not talking about sleepers here – that’s a well-documented area, and a whole textbook in itself. No, what’s flicking our switch today is the idea of using a novel base to build something devastating. Like when Top Gear commissioned Lotus to build a trackslaying Lada, and the Norfolk spannertwiddlers ended up throwing £100k at it. Or when Volvo entered the BTCC in the 1990s with an 850 estate. These are not the logical cars to choose for such endeavours, which is what makes the whole concept so eminently desirable.
So it is with Karel Silha’s M3. He wanted to build an unstoppable and terrifying car with which to distort reality in the otherworldly and near-mythical amphitheatre of the now-world-renowned Gatebil events, so he chose to go with an M3. Fair play, sound reasoning, we can see why you’d do that But, just for the sake of waving two fingers at the rest of the paddock, he didn’t take the obvious route and buy himself an E92 coupé. He chose the sensible, dad-spec E90 fourdoor saloon.
Alright, we’ll immediately retract ‘sensible, dad-spec’, that’s a moronic way to describe a machine as formidable as the E90 – but you have to admit that the act of deliberately choosing a car with extra doors you know you’re never going to use is something only a belligerent and confrontational person would do. It’s Touring Car rules; you’ve got four doors so that people spectating can relate your car to their own salesman-spec diesel commuter. Karel’s just cranked things up a notch, simply to be mischievous. Oh, those effervescently zany Swedes…
“My first car was a Toyota Starlet,” he explains, which is actually something we hear a lot. A surprising number of skilled helmsmen cut their teeth in that balletic Japanese poppet, it must teach its drivers an awful lot about car control. “I’ve been working with BMWs for about 12 or 13 years now though. My first was an E30, which I wanted to turn into a bit of turbocharged weekend fun. Most of my BMWs have been E30s in fact; the most recent one was making 982hp and 887lb ft on an old M20 engine.”
It’s probably safe to assume that this fella knows what he’s doing when it comes to perving over BMWs then. However, the E90 is a world apart from the E30 (just look at the maths, it’s 60 #BMW Top Trump points adrift), so this little race car project was always going to be something of a challenge, right? No, not a bit of it. Karel’s the sort of chap who just knuckles down and gets on with it and there’s no half-measures here. Allin or nothing.
“I wanted to do fast lap times and the goal was to be quick,” he says, with hilarious modesty and masterful understatement. “With that in mind, there was only one chassis that was suitable for this: the E90 M3. So I bought the car from a friend – it was in really good condition, aside from the engine, which was trashed. One of the rods had found its way out…” But with the plans that Karel had made, a blown motor was an irrelevance. Stock engines aren’t Gatebil fodder. It was always the gameplan to tear the motor apart and beef everything up like Meat Loaf in an Angus Steakhouse.
“Yes, the whole build was fully mapped out from the start,” he assures us. “We even drew up 3D renderings of how it would look when it was finished. The plan was always clear.” Oh, and what a plan it was. With ruthless efficiency and the sort of clockwork dominance of the to-do list that you normally find in school staff rooms, Karel and his crew set about ripping the E90 to shreds and building it back up as an apex-humiliating, spectator-arousing beast.
“In the first year, we dealt with the chassis,” he says. “KW three-way competition suspension, and also a big brake upgrade from Endless, to get the chassis fully dialled-in. We’d initially talked to a local company about our suspension options, and the support was terrible, so we ended up talking to KW suspension in Germany. They answered all of our questions in one email and the support was just above and beyond, so it was a no-brainer to go with KW! They made a custom three-way competition kit for us, and those guys have been a strong partner ever since.”
With the chassis tested and thoroughly proven, the second year of the E90 build threw up some proper mischief. “In year two we did the forged engine,” says Karel, “and then we supercharged it – and this was no off-the-shelf kit, it was the biggest setup ESS could make for us. We ended up with 840hp, and we also upgraded the ECU to a full Motec setup, with PDM [Power Distribution Module], dash and ECU. We fitted a Samsonas sequential gearbox with paddleshift too.” Phew. Time to take a breath, drink in the magnificence of the spec, and just have a little think about our own life choices. Stick the kettle on for some pondering time, we’ll see you at the next paragraph.
Better? We know, it’s a lot to take in. But brace yourselves, as there’s a little more to come. You see, it would have been amusingly stealthy to jam all of this sweaty grunt into a stock-looking four-door shell, but stealth has never been the Swedish forced induction enthusiasts’ watchword. So what you’re seeing here is a searing vision in Snakeskin Green, a Dodge Viper colour no less, and to prove that this build isn’t just about dumb horsepower there’s a frankly staggering aero setup. Just look at the frickin’ size of that rear diffuser, for goodness’ sake! And the front splitter’s big enough to stand a family of six upon, let alone allowing them all to have a little nap on the rear wing. This thing may have enough horsepower to make a Bugatti owner think twice, but it’s also glued to the track by the crushing inevitability of downforce. It’s actually kinda frightening. Another hugely impressive element of this build is just how stock that S65 motor is, aside from the comically large blower. It’s got forged pistons and rods from Pure Performance Motorsport in Australia, and a suitably juiced-up fuelling system feeding through a Weldon 2345 pump (which is good for 1300hp!), but aside from that it’s pretty much as the M Division intended. Talk about over-engineering, eh?
Still, there was a global vibe developing in this Swedish-honed, German-built car with Australian engine upgrades and Japanese interior addenda, so it only made sense for the rolling stock to come from somewhere unexpected too. That’s why you’ll find a set of Work VS-XX wheels under those widened carbon fibre arches – custom-built wheels from Japan. And the rears are a spanking 12.5” wide, which allows for some seriously dirty contact patch. “We wanted a wheel that could match the rest of the car,” Karel reasons, “and Work Wheels were the only choice for a quality wide wheel.” Having hand-crafted his own bruising arches, we’ll happily take his word for that.
“Function over form was the overarching idea,” he continues. “The look has always been secondary to the act of going fast. The chassis’s actually being modified for a Version 3 that we’ll be debuting soon, but yes – the capability has always been more important than the look.” This statement, of course, writes a very large cheque, as the car looks absolutely phenomenal. Thankfully, we know that the setup can cash it with ease. “I’d say my favourite element of the build is all the carbon fibre,” Karel grins. “When you start with carbon, you kinda get the fever and it’s hard to stop! For 2017 most of the car will be in carbon fibre, and for 2018 a new chassis is being built with even more mods and 100% carbon.” Blimey. 100% is a big percentage. We’ll report back as the news filters in.
“It took some five-to-six months to build the first version of the car,” he says, “then it evolved over the off-season; 2015 Version 1, 2016 Version 2, and 2017 is Version 2.1. Just wait – 2018 will bring it up to Version Badass.” We can’t wait to see that. But for now, let’s just bask in the unutterable lunacy of Version 2.1 – the as-yet ultimate evolution of your neighbour’s four-door 3 Series, built to tear up Gatebil and atomise any rubber that may stray into its workshop. The fact that it’s not a coupé just makes the flawless victories all the sweeter. ¬
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged / #BMW-E90 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E90 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E90 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #ESS-supercharger / #ESS / #BMW / #Work / #MoTeC-ECU
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #BMW-S65 / #S65 , fully-forged, custom #ESS-supercharger-kit , 1000cc injectors and uprated fuelling with #Weldon 2345 pump, #Motec engine management. #Samsonas six-speed sequential gearbox
CHASSIS 11x18” (front) and 12.5x18” (rear) #Work-VS-XX wheels with 305/35 (front) and 335/35 (rear) tyres, #KW three-way competition suspension, #Endless race brake setup with six-pot calipers (front and rear) with 355mm (front) and 345mm (rear) discs
EXTERIOR Dodge Viper Snakeskin Green, wide steel rear wings and plastic-welded M3 front wings – now remoulded in carbon fibre, Gatebil-sized custom wing, splitter and diffuser
INTERIOR Sparco seats, Takata harnesses, OMP steering wheel, custom cluster by Karel S Motorsport, paddle shifters, full painted FIA rollcage
THANKS All of my friends who helped, especially to Tim and Jens, and also all of my sponsors last year and also the new ones for 2017 – it would not have been possible without them
No air-ride here, just air jacks.
The rear view is dominated by that custom diffuser.
Fully-painted FIA roll-cage.
“Function over form was the overarching idea, the look has always been secondary to the act of going fast”
MOTEC engine management keeps things running right.
Sparco seats with Takata harnesses up front.
MoTeC C127 Race Display behind OMP steering wheel.
Custom ESS supercharger kit makes 840hp.
“In year two we did the forged engine and then we supercharged it [with] the biggest setup ESS could make for us. We ended up with 840hp”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSafety First 650hp supercharged E90 M3.
Safety cars are always in front – they have to be, they’re there to back the pack up. But in the case of this raucous tribute, it’s in front because nobody else can keep up… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Speedyshots.
THUNDERSTRUCK 650hp #G-Power supercharged E90 M3
Safety cars, or pace cars, have always been a little bit naughty. This makes perfect sense, as they need to be inherently fast and capable machines if they’re going to have any hope of taming a pack of wild racing machines. Sending a farty old Lada out into a field of DTM tearaways would be the very antithesis of ‘safety’.
On the face of it, they’re a necessary evil in motorsport; they break up the action, they slow things down. They’re sent out to haul up the pack when there’s debris to be cleared up or a surprise monsoon has suddenly presented itself, and there’s a natural perceptual bias against them in the eyes of the fans in that, no matter how fast or formidable they may be, they are – by virtue of why they exist – the slowest things on the track.
This, of course, is all rather unfair on the poor beleaguered safety car. But fear not – there’s a groundswell subculture that celebrates these often-iconic creations, championing them for their mighty performance as much as the vital role they play in keeping motorsport ticking. This kind of thing’s been going on since the first appearance of a safety car in the Indianapolis 500 in 1911, while the first example in Formula One – a Porsche 914 – appeared in 1973. Classic NASCAR pace cars have taken on a life of their own as collectors’ items, and arguably the most popular safety cars of recent times are the BMWs used in MotoGP. 2016’s weapon of choice was the shiny new M2, and the series has variously used the M5, M6, X6 M and numerous others; each one has offered aggression in spades and, as you’d expect from an M car, blistering performance. All you need to keep a bunch of wildheart racing drivers safe!
This E90, then, is a tribute to BMW’s keenness to push the envelope of safety car desirability: a four-door missile, caricaturised in all the right places to create something that’s frankly rather quicker and scarier than quite a lot of race cars – or, indeed, race bikes. This project is the brainchild of Karl Jungmayer, who regular readers will remember as the mastermind behind our January 2017 cover car – a 1 Series with a V10 violently shoved into it. The third Karl in line within a #BMW garage in the sleepy enclave of Geiselhöring, southwest Germany (his grandfather, Karl, set it up; he passed it down to his son, Karl, and it then transferred to the incumbent Karl), he spends his days doing unseemly and frankly unhinged things to powerful cars with Bavarian propeller badges. And as bases for project cars go, you can’t really miss the target if you’re starting off with an E90 M3… You’ve got 420hp right out of the box, a sublime chassis and more ingrained passion than you could possibly know what to do with.
Unless you’re someone like Karl, that is. He knows exactly what to do with it. Refract it through a filter of insanity, collect the ensuing scattered beams of light, compress them into a diamond of pure retribution, and throw it full in the face of the tuning scene. “BMW is my life, my family, my hobby, that’s why they’re so special to me,” he says. “I’ve owned a lot of them, and they’ve all had modifications. And for this project? Well, I’m a big fan of the MotoGP, and I’m also a big fan of the E90 M3, so it made sense to combine the two.” There you are, that’s about as complicated as it needs to be. “It’s effectively my interpretation of a MotoGP safety car, with more power and bigger wheels!,” he grins.
That, we reckon, is the best kind of safety car, so let’s look at that power issue first. You see, while the formidable S65 4.0-litre V8 would be mighty enough for many, Karl merely saw this as a starting block, and got on the blower to G-Power to chew over the perennial carnival affair of forced induction. The result was the acquisition and subsequent modification of an SK II CS supercharger kit, a Stage 2 setup that requires its own chargecooler system as well as, of course, plonking a hilarious mass of orange mischief right there on top of the engine like some kind of malevolent jellyfish. characteristics of BMW’s own work, rather than to radically alter and transmogrify, offering (on paper, at least) a broadly similar feel to a standard car, but amplified by several orders of magnitude.
This, however, wasn’t enough for Karl. Too much is never enough. So you’ll also find another mischievous embodiment of modern high-octane lunacy under that freshly-stickered bonnet, in the form of a Snow Performance water/methanol injection kit. The science of this is to reduce inlet temperatures by up to a 100ºC, markedly increase fuel efficiency, eliminate detonation, and ultimately increase peak power by around 20%. Which is all good fun. It basically achieves this by squirting a finely atomised mist of water/methanol mix into the combustion chambers at just the right time in the fuelling cycle for tiny rabbits to be pulled out of hats and all manner of fi reworks to go off. So how does 650hp grab you? By the lapels, that’s how, and it shakes you around all over the place like a damn ragdoll. Just look what it’s doing to Karl’s rear tyres, for goodness’ sake.
You’ll be pleased to note that all of this effervescent combustion tomfoolery is being channelled through a manual gearbox – six on the floor, maximum attack – and the interior has come in for a racy makeover. “It’s got the BMW M Performance seats, pedals and steering wheel,” Karl points out, “and there’s also a Wiechers rollcage, which has been colour-matched in Alpine White.” The insides are neatly fused with the exterior aesthetic, and what an exterior it is; the E90’s lines are naturally brutalist, masterfully combining four-door sensibleness with the sort of cartoonish proportions that make it look like a bodypumped bouncer in a slightly-too-small suit, and Karl’s taken all of this to the next level with an authentic-looking set of MotoGP Safety Car decals. It is, for all intents and purposes, the real deal. Well, the real deal plus 50% or so, really. And it does make for a hilariously imposing presence on the road – think about it: if you’re dressing up a project car in a tribute livery, it is – for fairly obvious reasons – unlawful to mimic the look of a police car or, say, an ambulance. But a motorsport safety car? Sure, that’s pretty much fair game. And no-one will be suspecting the utterly, unspeakably vast quantities of extra horsepower that this canny tuner has shoved into it. At least, not until the lights turn green.
“The car is so powerful,” he muses, thoughtfully, “I like this car.” Coming from a man with a V10-powered 1 Series in his stable, alongside heavily tweaked F11s, E46s, E61s and a whole lot more, this is a stirring (if modestly stated) sentiment. “It does need more power though,” he adds, decisively. “And more boost.”
But of course. We couldn’t expect anything less from a man like Karl. Just remember – however nuts this car becomes, it’s a safety car, it’s there for your protection. If you see him up ahead of you, you’d better not attempt an overtake – although the reasons for that on the road may be very different to those on the race track…
“As bases for project cars go, you can’t really miss the target if you’re starting off with an E90 M3”
“BMW is my life, my family, my hobby, that’s why they’re so special to me”
DATA FILE #Supercharged / #BMW-E90 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E90 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E90 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E90 / #S65-Supercharged / #G-Power / #Breyton-GTS / #Breyton-Race / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , modified #G-Power-SK-II-CS supercharger kit with #Snow-Performance water/ #methanol-injection , custom home-made exhaust system. Six-speed manual gearbox
POWER and torque 650hp, 485lb ft
CHASSIS 8.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Breyton-GTS-Race wheels, 15mm spacers, 245/30 (front) and 295/25 (rear) Continental ContiSportContact 5P tyres, #Brembo eightpot #BBK (front), stock E90 M3 brakes (rear)
EXTERIOR M3 CRT front spoiler with carbon fibre flaps, carbon fibre rear spoiler and diffuser, E90 LCI taillights, Safety Car livery
INTERIOR #BMW-Performance seats, pedals and steering wheel, #Wiechers rollcageStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationEdison Hwang’s E92 M3, the ‘Gold Dragon’, fuses shouty V8 thrills with a track-ready chassis; it’s a lightweight carbon fibre racing terror with a comfy interior for the journey home. And it’s won a ridiculous number of trophies… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: LopezArts.
ENTER THE DRAGON
Carbon-kitted E92 M3
To understand the ethos behind this rather outrageous E92 M3, you must first get to grips with the conceptual difference between wet and dry carbon fibre. The former is what most people would picture when they hear talk of carbon parts – the glossy stuff has an epoxy either painted onto or vacuum-infused into the woven strands; it’s strong, light, and cheaper to produce than dry carbon. But the dry stuff is the next-level formula – more costly to make, but around 70% lighter while being just as strong, each specific weave being epoxy-coated while it’s crafted. So it doesn’t have the glass-like sheen of a Halfords gear knob, but it’s far superior as a functional material. And if you scale up this sense of focus to a whole car-sized entity, you arrive presently at this golden E92.
Now, this is a car with an identity crisis. A balls-to-the-wall track car, but still a proper M3 with quality interior appointments and a clear sense of the fusion of luxury and performance. Just look at the colour for evidence of this conflict – this car has been custom-painted in a rich and vibrant shade of Ferrari Rosso Scuderia paint. But you don’t know it, because it’s hiding under a vinyl wrap in lurid Candy Lime. This, it’s fair to say, is a machine with tales to tell.
Its owner, Edison Hwang, has one or two stories of his own as well. “I’ve been into BMWs since I was about thirteen years old,” he explains. “The whole journey’s been a kinda crazy story. As a car guy and a mechanic, I love the power of the M3 and the way it handles, and there’s just no logical reason for me not to modify it. When I started changing up this car, I made a lot of new friends – my Timeless Motor Group – and now we always go to events together and help each other out. And the real turning point was when we went to SEMA in 2013: arriving at the Las Vegas Convention Center, seeing all those top-flight builds from all over the world, I had a voice in my head saying that I had to build a car worthy of this show.”
With a mesmerising swirl of images circling through his subconscious from that epochdefining show, Edison put careful thought into pinpointing just what his ideal spec would be, before rolling up his sleeves and diving headfirst into the project. At the top of the wish list was Vorsteiner’s dry carbon fibre GTRS3 wide body kit, comprising beefed up wings, bumpers, rear quarters, bonnet and ducktail boot all in the revered and magical weave. “It was fitted at Blanco Services in Maryland,” he says, “and it took six months to get the fitment perfect! Moulding the rear quarters, custommaking the arch liners, making uniform shut lines, and painting it all in Ferrari red.
It’s really a lot of work to make it perfect show car quality, and after the wide body was complete I added more details to the car, including the APR racing spoiler, APR front splitter (which I take off for regular street driving, due to height issues), bumper canards, DTM-style side mirrors, and carbon fibre parts everywhere.”
Those of you familiar with SEMA builds will know that you’re not even going to make it through the door if your car’s all show and no go; the very nature of the event dictates that cars represent a holistic approach to aftermarket modifying and, as brutally rapid as a stock M3 is, standard powertrains are a definite no-no. “The car used to run an Active Autowerk Stage 3 supercharger,” says Edison, “but I actually decided to remove it right after I showed my car at SEMA 2014, since I love the sound of the NA S65 engine.”
So now that glorious V8 rumbles unforced as BMW intended, but augmented boisterously by a supremely intelligent exhaust system specifically tailored to bellow out an F1 howl. Back when the wide body conversion was underway, Edison had plenty of time for his mind to wander. Six months is a long stretch. So it’s unsurprising that the car found itself treated to a diverse platter of additional treats during this period; a roll cage and a set of custom-built headlights being chief among its fresh new trinkets. A GT wing topped off the exterior, while inside was adorned with a pair of Status Racing seats and a veritable festival of dry carbon goodies. The M3 was given a name – ‘Red Dragon’ – and it scooped up an armful of awards on its first outing.
Rolling into the Carlisle Performance and Style Car Show in Pennsylvania, all eyes turned; rolling back out again afterwards, the Dragon was toting trophies for Best BMW, Best Paint and Finish, and Best in Show. Not bad. But that was just for starters…
“It started winning ‘Best in Show’ at every event I took it to, the judges nicknamed it ‘Competition Killer’,” Edison smirks. “But I knew it still wasn’t a SEMA car, there was more work to be done. So I put more effort in, changed a few things, and finally earned a place on the Rohana Wheels stand. My dream had come true, all the effort was worth it.” But success, it’s often said, is like a drug. We can’t all be Nico Rosberg, achieving the perceived pinnacle of our aspirations and saying ‘OK, I’m done now’. Having tasted the sweet tang of success, Edison was all-in for more. “I wanted to go back to SEMA the next year,” he grins, “and that meant changing a lot of things again.”
A helpful career turn arrived at this point, with Edison joining the Rolloface Performance Inc. family, and this pushed him to level-up to the next great thing. This was when the mighty big brake kit came, and a Rolloface driver’s seat, and various DTM touches, and… then he crashed the car in New York City. Or rather, someone crashed into the back of it in heavy traffic. Game over for the season, the car was done showing for the foreseeable future. Dark times for a trophy addict, but did this leave Edison downhearted? No! (Well, yes obviously… but not for long.) His resolve hardened, he worked more tenaciously to create a scenebreaking E92, the like of which the world had never seen.
“It was ready for SEMA later that year,” he smiles, playfully slapping fate across the chops with his mighty gauntlet of skill. “Fixed up better than new and with fresh custom parts, I decided at the last minute to wrap it in an acid yellow-green.” An inspired decision, this, since everyone would be expecting that Ferrari red to make another appearance. This game is not won by playing to people’s expectations. “There it was, the ‘Gold Dragon’. A new roll cage went in at the last minute, there was more of an aggressive racing style – the car certainly got a lot of attention.” And, as you’d probably logically assumed, Edison didn’t close the book on the M3 there. This car has always been, and will always be, about being harder, better, faster, stronger. He’s owned it since it was brand new, and it’s pretty safe to say that the warranty evaporated long ago, but ardent petrolheads care not for such trivialities.
“The M3 really is the ultimate driving machine, and the naturally aspirated V8 suits it so well,” he says. “It was always the intention to turn it into a car like no-one else had. At the moment it’s running Rolloface Performance ZR-1 forged three-piece wheels, which are really strong and lightweight, as well as Rolloface Performance three-way coilovers, and I’ve upgraded all of the chassis components to race-spec – I just love the handling that race parts provide! The big brake kit’s probably my favourite mod on the car, as it provides incredible performance on track as well as looking fantastic, but I also really love the functional nature of the carbon body parts.” And that’s pretty much where we came in – that form-meets-function quality of dry carbon fibre.
Edison’s got plans for the M3, in the form of a new custom diffuser, Ferrari F12 rain light, carbon intake system and so on, and the keystone of all he does is this: quality speaks for itself. You may see a lot of wet carbon cars at your local meet, but if you want to get into SEMA, it’s a dry carbon state of mind. “I believe that if you do something sincerely, the whole world will help you,” he says. And we certainly wouldn’t want to argue with that.
/ #Carbon-Fibre / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-Carbon-Fibre / #BMW-M3-Carbon-Fibre-E92 / #Akrapovic-Delete-R / #Akrapovic / Akrapovic / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 / #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , #Rolloface racing intake system, custom oil cooler and transmission cooler, Macht Schnell Performance underdrive pulleys, #Kreissieg titanium floating curl tail exhaust with cat-back F1-sound valvetronic system, Macht Schnell bypass track pipes, Akrapovič Delete-R, tuning by Frank Smith Custom Tune. Seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox
CHASSIS 10x19” ET0 (front) and 12x19” ET-40 (rear) #Rolloface-ZR-1 three-piece forged wheels in gloss black with titanium bolts and 275/30 (front) and 325/30 (rear) Toyo Proxes T1 Sport tyres, #Macht-Schnell wheel studs, Project-Kics-R40 open-end black chrome wheel nuts, #Rolloface-RT-3 Competition Racing three-way adjustable coilovers, custom-rate #Swift springs, #Macht-Schnell electronic dampening control emulation module, #Bimmerworld adjustable rear toe arm set, adjustable rear wishbone set (camber adjustable), spherical rear guiding link set, trailing link bearing set, rear camber arm bearing kit and spherical front race arm conversion, #Rolloface-SR-C big brake kit with eight-piston (front) and six-piston (rear) yellow powder coated forged aluminium calipers and 380mmx32mm slotted high-carbon discs (front and rear), Rolloface Performance stainless steel brake lines (f&r), Pagid-Racing RST race brake pads (f&r), Motul RBF 600 Factory Line brake fluid
EXTERIOR #Vorsteiner-GTRS3 dry carbon fibre kit comprising front bumper, front lip, wide-arch front wings, side skirts, wide-arch rear quarters, rear bumper, bonnet and CSL-style boot lid, APA Gloss Candy Lime vinyl-wrap (with custom Ferrari Rosso Scuderia paint underneath), AeroCatch 120-2100 locking system, AutoTecknic carbon fibre wing grilles and bonnet vents, BMW M Performance black kidney grilles, Macht Schnell Motorsport tow straps, #APR-Racing-GT-250 dry carbon fibre GT wing, Rolloface custom dry carbon fibre chassis-mount front splitter, M4 #DTM-style front canards, mirrors, aero panel under chassis and rear diffuser, front lower grille painted gloss black with BMW M logo, AutoTecknic 24 SMD LED indicators, OSS Design Raptor M4 DTM-style square angel eyes with LCI inner eyebrow, white LED side-markers, Jet Black blackout and M inner logos
INTERIOR BMW M Performance Version 2 steering wheel, #BMW-M-Performance aluminium pedals and footrest, #BMW rear sunshade, BMW LED door projectors, custom dry carbon fibre shift paddles and airbag emblem, AutoTecknic carbon fibre steering wheel trim, #Storm-Motorwerks V1 titanium PVD coated handbrake handle, Awron DGA 20-in-1 gauge with Kompressor 1 option, Rolloface dry carbon fibre interior trim kit, Rolloface custom track roll cage powder coated in matt gunmetal grey, #Rolloface dry carbon fibre driver’s race seat, Status Racing custom Spa passenger seat trimmed in leather with bespoke stitching, red Schroth Racing PROFI II ASM FE four-point cam-lock harnesses, Vorsteiner mats, racing fire extinguisher, LED interior lights
THANKS #Rolloface-Performance , #Toyo-Tires , #Meguiars , #CSF-Radiators , #OSS-Designs , #Schroth-Racing , #Pagid , #Swift-Springs , #APR-Racing , #Motul-USA , #Blanco-Services , #RRT-Racing , #Tuning-Tech-by-Frank-SmithStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation
LIBERTY WALK M3 Wild Australian E92
Walk This Way
A Japanese body kit on a European car with American suspension screwed together by an Australian equals something pretty bloody special. Words: Ben Dillon. Photos: Trent Wilson.
Forging a different path in Australia’s modified car culture can be a tricky thing to do as fresh ideas often collide with an iron resistance to change from the established scene, but breaking down barriers is what Ty Isaak and his one-stop modification brand Mode Auto Concepts does best.
Growing up in a hot rod-loving family meant Ty received a healthy amount of exposure to grinding, welding and rumbling V8s from a young age and was himself swinging tools and modifying cars before he had even finished high school. His first foray into the scene was with an Isuzu ute which he chopped, sectioned and bagged and added #V8 greatness to. From there Ty waded deep into Australia’s street tuning scene of the late 1990s and early 2000s just as the Japanese import craze was calming down and the Euro scene was on the rise. Ty built on his fabrication roots and his ethos of unique concepts heavily influenced by his numerous trips to the US by creating a number of cars showcasing his talents.
These included a SoCal lowrider W116 Mercedes and a bagged, pure white A4 Avant, also dropped on its guts.
For his latest car, the stunning E92 M3 you see on these pages, Ty’s inspiration came from a visit to rev-head Mecca: the SEMA modified car show in Las Vegas. This instantly set him on the #Liberty-Walk-E92 body kit course as not only did Kato-san’s (Wataru Kato, Liberty Walk founder) fat creation for the E92 look fantastic but no one had yet attempted it in Australia. Added to this, the build could showcase brands represented by Ty’s business, which gave the project the added pressure of being an advertisement for what his company could do, but the choice of M3/ #BMW-E92-Liberty-Walk was an easy one to make.
“I’ve always been a fan of Euro cars and I appreciate all different marques, but I’m really selective on the models that I like within a brand,” Ty says. “I remember seeing the first M3 and have enjoyed the evolution of the generations; they always appealed to me. They are a really good package with a real motorsport feel.”
As purveyors of some of the fattest body kits in the known universe Liberty Walk is at the top of the heap – but a fat rear end alone was never going to set the world on fire. So, in the planning process before Ty even bought his M3, the concept of the build was given great consideration with the main goals for the car to be outlandish on the outside but still feel as good as it did driving off the showroom floor. “The objective with the M3 was that it should look crazy but feel like something that was made right from scratch, like it came from the factory,” Ty explains. “It has the loudest possible exhaust on it. It’s fully decatted to the x-pipe. And it’s all Armytrix Valvetronic, so when it opens up it’s an absolute beast. I had a guy come up to me with a race M3 and he said my car was louder!” And while the body kit is the focus of much attention, it seems the wheels are the starting point for all conversations on Ty’s E92. “Everyone argues about which side they like more and they all have really strong opinions about it,” Ty says. Those amazing wheels measure 10.5x19 inches on the front and 12.5x19 inches on the rear. You definitely can’t get them on eBay or anywhere else in the retail sphere (at the moment) as they are of Ty’s own creation – from concept drawings to tyred-up, forged alloy finality.
“I own the company Forge Wheels,” Ty reveals. “I went to the States years ago and started my own wheel company because I couldn’t find what I wanted in Australia. The wheels and tyres on this cost $10,000 (circa
£4800 at the time of writing) and so much work went into them in every single aspect. They are not off-the-shelf wheel; every single element has been engineered, designed and checked by me and my team.”
As impressive as all that is, wheels and a body kit don’t just attach themselves to a car, so Ty swung the grinder and sparked up the welder for every step along the way of the transformation of the E92 from muscular factory M3 to barking, steroidal, day-glo-wheeled freak. And there was plenty to do – not least to have US documentary filmmaker and good mate Zach Wingfield (whose showreel alone proves he’s car mad like the rest of us) hovering with a camera for three months solid, filming every single part of the build. “I had to put the front wings on about eight times because Zach wanted to shoot it from every angle, change a lens, or change the lighting,” Ty laughs.
The body work didn’t stop there. Modifications to the firewall ensure that the front wheels actually turn full lock.
Subsequent work involved plating and body deadened, while the rear of the car was mini-tubbed to accommodate those super-wide rear wheels. Again Ty fabricated and fitted the rolled inner tubs himself, sticking to his ethos of ‘if it’s been done right, it can stay like that forever’. But none of this was without drama, especially with the fitment of the Liberty Walk kit. “People have this perception that these kits come in some IKEA-like kit and you just get the screw gun out and screw it into the side of your car but it’s a lot of work to fit it properly. The instructions from Liberty Walk were pretty much just ‘cut it’,” Ty grins. “Getting the fitment right and making sure the car still drives like it did from the factory was the aim from the start. Whether it was legal or not I was still going to do it but I wanted to do it to specification, so I talked to my engineer and told him what I wanted to do. He reassured me I was on the right track.”
While cutting into an M3 to put a body kit on sounds like a #BMW purist’s worst nightmare, snatching out the factory M3 suspension and replacing it with airbag units seems a sure way to draw fire from those who would question how anything could replace M-division’s Nürburgring-honed best. But Ty is adamant that it fits the ethos of the build and his car still handles like a real M car. “A lot of people assume that because it’s on air it rides or drives like sheet but everything people perceive about air suspension, sloppy ride, or lack of handling, is eliminated in the AirREX kit,” Ty explains. This is down to the AirREX design combining the best of coilover and airbag designs with what is basically a damper-adjustable-strut on a fully-threaded body but with an air spring on it where a coil spring would normally be. The end result is something that looks like a coilover but with an airbag on it. “With the combination of the valving and the damping you wouldn’t know it was bagged and it just rides like a factory M3,” Ty adds.
It’s this approach to quality control which marks Ty’s car out from the herd. He’s paid particular attention to how the car now responds dynamically to the mechanical and aesthetic changes he’s made to ensure that it can be used as a daily driver – albeit one that never escapes attention when out in the wild.
“It’s totally ridiculous and a lot of people are in disbelief that I’ve even done it. You can’t drive it on the highway without someone driving up to you to take a photo or a video. It’s fun. It’s like being in a celebrity car,” Ty says with a smile. “I don’t think people even know what kind of car it is.
Nobody knows what #Liberty-Walk is and to have people hanging out the window of a car yelling out and giving me a thumbs up is just amazing.”
It’s not just fellow road users Down Under who appreciate Ty’s M3 either as fans worldwide can now drive this car through the streets of Surfers Paradise in Forza Horizon 3. It’s fitting for a car made on the Gold Coast to appear in a game with an Australian setting. Digital fame aside, Ty has even bigger plans for a ‘Stage 2’ build for the E92, which will see a toned- down colour scheme with the body kit as the sole survivor of the car’s current state in what will be a more track-focused evolution of the current ethos while still retaining street usability.
“Making huge power figure is not of any interest to us. It doesn’t achieve anything; it’s just a number on a piece of paper,” Ty says. “The next stage with this car is a full roll-cage and supercharger which, with the exhaust, tune, intake and underdrive pulley, will still make it a great streetcar but one that we can take on the track or to social track days and have a bit of fun with.” All we can say is bring it on Ty, we can’t wait to see it.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Liberty-Walk / #BMW / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3-Liberty-Walk / #BMW-M3-Liberty-Walk-E92 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-M3-M-DCT / #BMW-M3-M-DCT-E92 / #Forge-Wheels / #LB-Performance / #AirREX
ENGINE 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , intake, custom ECU tune, #Armytrix-Valvetronic exhaust system with de-catted front pipes, x-pipe and ceramic-coated matt black tips
TRANSMISSION Seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox
CHASSIS 10.5x19” (front) and 12.5x19” (rear) #Forge-Wheels-USA-SV5-FS-spec-SL wheels with 275/30 (front) and 305/30 (rear) Nitto Invo tyres, #AirREX-Performance air suspension struts with #AirREX digital wireless management system in concealed enclosure, #Rolloface-Performance 380mm six-piston forged performance brake kit
EXTERIOR #Liberty-Walk-LB-Performance widebody kit (version two), Piano black front splitter and ducktail, BMW Performance black chrome kidney grilles and side vents, LED angel eye upgrade, LCI rear light upgrade
INTERIOR Factory interior
THANKS Everyone behind the scenes at MODE Auto Concepts that made this project possible, FORGE Wheels USA, Brian and the team from Armytrix Exhaust, Dizzy and the team from AirREX Air Suspension, Ken and the team from Rolloface Performance, Zach from ZWINGFILMS, Trent from TNW Photography for the behind the scenes photos, and Brad my painter for always telling me “no dramas”
“It should look crazy but feel like it came from the factory”
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- Post is under moderationDouble Dare
Owning one street-and track-tuned M3 would be enough for most people. But not Chad Bates – he’s upped the ante with a matching pair. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Peter Wu.
Fierce E92 M3 and F80 M3 tear up the Tarmac / Stunning twin M3s
The two cars you’re looking at here – the E92 M3, and the F80 M3 – may be just a single generation apart, but they couldn’t be more different. The E92 features a thudding Goliath of an engine, a brutal, highrevving V8 with a soundtrack that can strip paint off cheap houses. It is (relatively speaking) an old-skool bruiser.
The F80, conversely, is a smart representation of modern technological advances; a focus on combining performance with efficiency – plus the everpresent emissions Sword of Damocles – has seen to it that the motor is now a twin-turbo straight-six. Furthermore, this generation finally broke the M3 chain, hitherto being a badge glued to the two- and four-door variants: whereas the E92 M3 we have here is a coupé, the F80 is a four-door saloon. If you want a two-door coupé version of the F80, you will find yourself with an M4. Which is actually an F82. Such is progress, such is life.
They are, of course, tied by an indelible bond, each an exciting chapter in the ongoing M3 saga, and their owner, Chad Bates, has artfully augmented these ties with tasteful upgrades to further accentuate their kinship: they both wear BBS wheels, they both roll on KW suspension, they’re both painted in subtle shades of grey. This measured approach is the result of a lifetime of modifying for Chad – although he admits that BMWs are, in the grand scheme of things, reasonably new territory for him.
“I bought my first car, a 1984 Jeep Cherokee, at the age of 16,” he explains. “Ever since that point I have embarked upon making a personal statement with my cars.
The Cherokee got stripped down and repainted, and received one of the most insane sound systems that money could buy. It was a fun little first car that got me around during my high school years! My second car was a heavily modified 1992 Honda Accord, which I kept for a couple of years before purchasing an Acura Integra GS-R – that, again, was heavily modified, although it got stolen and vandalised in 2002, and that left a horrible taste in my mouth.”
Disheartened by this turn of events, Chad just didn’t feel his place in the modifying scene any more, so he pulled the ’chute and drifted out of it. Fast-forward to 2008 and he’d become a family man, so he acquired his first BMW – a shiny new 550i – to ferry the kids around in. It was wellequipped and had a bit of get-up-and-go, but he never felt any desire to modify it. But then, in 2011, the lease expired and Chad found himself yearning for something more… offbeat. And that’s when a voice in his brain reminded him what sparked the interest in Bavarian machinery in the first place. “My initial interest in BMWs began in 1996, when a friend of mine bought an E36 M3 and began modifying it,” he reminisces.
“At that time, there weren’t a lot of young people from my hometown who could afford that type of vehicle, let alone modify them. So the car quickly became a local legend.” Chad felt that it was the right time to grab a handful of that stardust for himself, so he did the decent thing and ordered himself a brand-new E92 M3.
“It started as a Jerez black 2012 E92 that I E92 M3 planned to keep pretty much stock, but thanks to magazines, forums and friends, that desire to keep it stock quickly passed,” he laughs. “I began modifying just about everything that could be touched on the car, and spent quite a bit of time on the track. After about three years owning the car, however, it was beginning to show signs of wear from all the track abuse, and I decided to make a pretty dramatic change. So I stripped it down in my home garage…”
Yep, you read that right. No mucking about here, it’s all hands-on. In fact, Chad’s proud to explain that he’s carried out as many of the mods as he was physically able to on both cars. But we’ll get to the F80 in due course. First, we have a stripped down E92 to deal with: “All the body panels were removed and the entire interior was gutted,” he continues. “I shipped the shell to the guys at Strassesport in Irwindale, CA, where they painted it in Audi Nardo grey – something I hadn’t seen on a BMW before. Once the paint was finished the guys allowed me to work in their shop putting the entire car back together with my own hands.”
The finished product, as you can see, is pretty meaty: staggered BBS E88s, copious carbon fibre touches, Recaro Sportster CS seats – and the rear bumper’s pretty jazzy too. Built up by Strassesport, it has aftermarket diffusers and flares smoothed right in, appearing like an OEM factory piece to all but those who know what they’re looking at. Classy, huh?
After a year, however, Chad got itchy feet. He was loving the street racer thrills of the E92, but he wanted to add to his collection. Something unusual, something different. And the answer came in the form of, er, another grey M3.
“A unique 2015 F80 M3 came up for sale,” he grins. “It had been ordered from BMW Individual and no expense was spared. It was the first of its kind to be painted in Fashion grey; a colour borrowed from Porsche. The interior was trimmed in contrasting Fjord blue and Silverstone leather. It was probably the most expensive M3 built at the time, with just about every option – and of course all the extra individual costs associated with the paint and interior. I knew that if I was going to purchase the new F8x model, the car had to be something special, and I knew that this car would fit the bill.” And, naturally, with those old modifying urges now firmly in overdrive, this was never going to be a case of simply finding a wellspec’d car and keeping it standard. Just like with that schoolboy Cherokee, Chad needed to make his personal statement.
Like the E92, the engine’s had its management breathed upon, while the exhaust has been replaced with something that allows the brutal motor to bark with more ferocity. KW coilovers offer a neat balance between track prowess and streetable durability, and a handful of carbon-fibre exterior mods really set off that Fashion Grey hue in style.
“Both of these cars were purchased to be promotional tools for my business, MotorRennGruppe, a manufacturer of titanium wheel hardware,” he explains, and that’s the logic informing the look-at-me wheels on both cars. The E92 wears 18” BBS E88s in staggered widths, while the F80 has a set of genuinely mighty custom-built BBS LMs, the rears measuring an eye-watering and arch-busting 12x20”. Just check out those Michelins, they’re a 305-section at the rear. That’s supercar wide!
“For all my cars, I prefer very aggressive wheel setups that push the limits of the stock arches without making the cars look out of place or hacked up,” says Chad. “The E92’s E88s were rebuilt with new inner and outer barrels to widen the fronts to 10” and the rears to 11.5”, with offsets that brought the faces of the wheel nearly even with the arch lips. Then I knew I had to do something special with the F80, so I had a set of stock BBS LMs rebuilt to 10” and 12” widths. To my knowledge, this was the first set of 20” LMs done for the F80 M3.”
What particularly strikes us about Chad when he’s describing his modifying journey with this grey duo is that it’s all very considered and thoughtful; he’s not the type to rush in and overdo things. Perhaps it’s the background of getting his hands dirty and doing everything himself, but there’s not an iota of effort wasted here.
Take the engine tuning, for example. It’s easy to go a bit mad with M3s, but it’s good to remember that they’re pretty formidable in stock form, and sometimes less is more. “Both cars maintain stock engine internals, and were treated with tunes and bolt-on accessories,” he points out. “The E92 has a Stage II tune from BPM Sport, while the F80 has the E-Flash Tuner from ESS. Both cars have uprated intake systems from Macht Schnell and Maximum PSI, and the F80 has BMS charge pipes bolted up to the stock turbos. The ESS tune on the F80 bumps up the power considerably over stock with race fuel, and is extremely capable on the track – although I prefer driving the E92 over the F80 for the raw sound of the V8!”
Ah, the agony of choice, eh? But despite the obvious similarities between Chad’s two M3s, there’s a clear ideological split: the E92 has been built to be sporty and trackfriendly, while the swankier F80 is the luxurious daily driver that just happens to have Continent-crushing GT potential as well as track-slaying physical drama. Between them, they tick a lot of boxes.
So where does he go from here? “Well, I’d like a Porsche GT3 next,” he tells us. Yeah, he says that… but with two entirely different M3s to choose from – one modern, sensible and cosseting, the other an old-skool badboy track monster – we suspect he’s going to have his hands pretty full for a while.
“The F80 is capable on the track, but I prefer the E92 for the raw sound of the V8!”
“The car had to be something special… I knew this would fit the bill”
“For all my cars, I prefer very aggressive wheel setups”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-E92 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , #Macht-Schnell-Stage-2 intake, #BPM-Sport-Stage-2 tune, #Megan-Racing exhaust system, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox.
CHASSIS 10x18” (front) and 11.5x18” (rear) #BBS-E88 wheels with 255/35 (front) and 285/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot SuperSport tyres, #KW-Variant-3 coilovers, #StopTech Trophy big brake kit with six-piston callipers and 380x35mm discs (front) and four-piston callipers with 355x35mm discs (rear).
EXTERIOR Audi Nardo grey paint, OEM Euro-spec front bumper, iND grilles, bonnet vents and side gills, Mode Carbon GTS V1 carbon fibre front lip and side skirts, BMW carbon fibre mirror caps (painted Nardo grey), custom-moulded BMW M Performance spoiler, custom-moulded rear bumper with integrated diffuser.
INTERIOR Recaro Sportster CS seats, BMW Performance steering wheel, Pedal Haus pedals, heel plate and paddle shifters.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-F80 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-F80 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-F80 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #S55B30 / #S55 / #BMW-S55 , #ESS flash tune, #Eisenmann valved exhaust system, #BMS charge pipes, #Maximum-PSI charge intakes, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox.
CHASSIS 10x20” (front) and 12x20” (rear) custombuilt #BBS-LM wheels with 245/35 (front) and 305/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, #KW-HAS coilovers, M carbonceramic brakes, #MRG titanium stud conversion.
EXTERIOR Individual Fashion grey paint, Mode Carbon carbon-fibre Trophy S1 front lip, rear diffuser and M4-style rear spoiler, iND cosmetic package, modified M4 #BMW-M-Performance side skirts.
INTERIOR Individual Fjord blue and Silverstone extended leather interior with contrasting stitching, BMW M Performance steering wheel, factory carbon fibre interior trim, head-up display, Mode Carbon carbon fibre seat-back replacements (front and rear), P3 Cars digital boost gauge, Pedal Haus pedals, heel plate, and paddle shifters.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationBe it road or track, Thorney Motorsport’s well-sorted and utterly furious E92 M3 will crush all-comers and all corners. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Matt Richardson.
THORNEY E92 M3 Ferocious 455hp track beast.
TARMAC TERRORIST Track-honed E92 M3
Never pass up the opportunity to drive an E9x M3. Of course, we can’t imagine you would because when you’re presented with the keys to arguably one of BMW’s finest-ever M creations, you’d have to be silly not to. And in the case of Thorney Motorsport’s M3 it wasn’t a suggestion but rather an insistence that I see what the car is capable of and it would be downright rude to refuse such a generous offer. I return a little while later, slightly weak at the knees and feeling like I need a cigarette after the experience I just had. I don’t even smoke…
Thorney Motorsport has been around for 16 years and eponymous owner John Thorne has been involved in the BMW game for as long as anyone can remember. The company did briefly take a hiatus to go racing and add fettling Vauxhalls to the its many talents before returning to its roots a few years ago and taking up the #BMW tuning mantle once more. Its certainly been busy since then as, aside from working on countless customer cars, it has produced a number of awesome demonstrators including a monstrous X5 M, F82 M4 that you’ll be able to read about in a future issue and the car we’re about to get under the skin of today, this magnificent E92 M3.
This is Thorney’s second E92 M3 and represents the final stage of the company’s tried and tested development programme. When a new car is welcomed into the Thorney fold it first spends some time being driven so John and the team are able to really get to know it before stage one can begin. This is the road car development phase which can take up to two years, with numerous modifications and combinations of components being tested, refined and developed in-house in order to get the car and the modifications up to Thorney’s standards. The company’s previous car had undergone the fast road development process before it was sold and when John acquired this 2008 M3 it was specifically to develop and build it up into a track car.
“There’s a big difference between a racing car and a track car,” he explains, “this specific car needs to be comfortable, road legal with an MoT and fun on the road but also track-focused, so it’s a more challenging build. Our principle is to take the best bits of the standard car and make them better, and make the bad bits less bad.”
The end product is a car that, while still trackbiased, you can comfortably drive on the road. It excels in both disciplines. “The whole car,” John continues, “has been inspired by the E92 M3 GTS but we’ve made it better.” That might seem like a bold statement, but having the GTS as a template meant that the Thorney team knew what it needed to do to surpass the BMW-built track special and that’s exactly what it’s done.
Obviously, if you’re building a track car it’s got to have plenty of power, and the M3 certainly isn’t short on that front. On a high compression, naturally aspirated engine you’re always going to struggle to get big gains but, where the GTS had an engine capacity increase up to 4.4-litres to make 450hp, the Thorney M3 makes a dynoproven 455hp from the stock displacement. It also develops 40lb ft more torque than stock with 360lb ft on tap, a significant gain and Thorney has worked to overcome the S65’s lack of low-end torque. The secret to its success is a custom, larger capacity carbon fibre intake plenum, a custom map designed for low-end gains and a Thorney 3” bore exhaust, designed in-house, which John says is perfect for the rev-hungry V8, with one set of silencers and repeaters, enough to pass all track noise tests with minimal exhaust flow restriction, finished off with carbon tips.
“When it comes to building a track car the three most important areas are handling, brakes and seats,” explains John and as a result of that everything on board this M3 has been fitted to make it stop harder and handle better. Nothing fitted to this car is a frivolity and nothing has been left to chance, these mods have been carried out because they work. The wheels are Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2s: “Bulletproof,” says John, “very light and very strong. We run 18s as the E9x handles much better on smaller wheels and it’s the same size that the GT4 uses. We generally prefer to run a square setup but the car is currently on 10s and 11s front and rear with Toyo R888 RR tyres.” That wide rubber means monster grip and traction but that’s not all, it’s backed up by a race-proven aerodynamic package. “The front splitter and adjustable rear wing are both from the GT4; we found that these consistently work well and are genuine motorsport parts. The only difference here is that the GT4 spoiler uses thinner steel upright and this version has thicker alloy ones.”
When it came to suspension, there was only one option as far as John was concerned: “We always work with Bilstein. It’s the most consistent, the best on warranty, it offers excellent support and the R&D process is open enough to listen to suggestions and work with us. We developed the Bilstein Club Sport kit in conjunction with Bilstein, and the one fitted to this car was the first kit in the UK. What sets it apart is that it’s been tuned for UK roads and circuits, which are smoother than the ’Ring, so we can run a stiffer setup, and the dampers are matched to H&R springs.
“For the brakes,” he continues, “we went for Performance Friction discs, bells and pads with our own in-house braided hoses with race fluid. This setup performs very well. It’s 85% of a big brake kit for a third of the cost, with everything coming to £1800 fitted. So far we’ve not found anyone who can out-brake us on track with a BBK.”
While the interior has been lightened to a degree, it’s not the bare, barren, stripped-out environment you might be expecting. “We have stripped some weight out; the rear seats have been removed and the area has been custom-trimmed but it’s not been stripped and gutted because while it is a fun car that’s been designed for the track it can still go on the road so we wanted to retain a degree of comfort. In a track car, harnesses will save your life and decent seats mean you won’t be holding on for dear life when you’re cornering. We went with Cobra for both of these, with an Ultralite motorsport seat for the driver and a Nogaro sport seat for the passenger. We had to re-engineer the whole seats to make them fit and designed our own mounts. We also fitted our own design of half cage, which was inspired by the GTS, but where the GTS cage weighs 70kg, ours is custommade from T45 steel and weighs just 21kg.”
It’s an insanely comprehensive build and while we don’t have a track to hand, I still can’t wait to see how this build feels out on the road. The serious-looking Cobra Ultralite driver’s seat is a little snug for a slightly broader-hipped lady such as myself but hey, at least it means I won’t be going anywhere through the corners. Mercifully there are no harnesses to faff about with for the road either, and the view from where I’m sitting is ordinary, with the stock M3 steering wheel and gear knob having been retained.
The V8 fires with a brrraap and settles into that familiar, busy idle, but with the volume turned up a few notches. It’s loud, and sounds lush, but even with this minimally silenced track arrangement it’s not obnoxious. These first few minutes of normality do lull you into a false sense of security, though, because the minute I get out onto the road and go for the throttle, all hell breaks loose. The Thorney M3 feels apocalyptically fast and while the on-paper figures might not seem all that impressive, it’s the combination of that huge gain in torque and low-end response along with the improved top-end breathing that makes it so much faster. The mid-range performance is now utterly explosive and, where you’d normally find yourself wringing the V8 out all the way to the redline to eke out every last drop of performance, I actually find myself short shifting well before the redline a couple of times as the newfound response and sheer punch of the engine lower down the rev range means that you can make indecently rapid progress without even having to try. Wind the engine all the way out, though, and the relentless acceleration is astonishing. The S65 is doing its exponential power delivery party trick but now there’s a whole lot more fireworks involved and the top end is, frankly, just a little obscene.
The brakes are phenomenal and I can’t imagine a BBK delivering significantly better braking performance than this setup does, the pedal remaining firm and the brakes biting hard corner after corner. But, more impressive than any of that, is the way this M3 changes direction and the way it rides. John said that on a track with warm tyres this car would not understeer, but out on the road and pushing hard it absolutely refuses to let go from either end. Turn-in is instant, there’s no pause as the chassis catches up with your steering input. It responds immediately to every single adjustment you make and its cornering performance and ability are mesmerising. I’m instantly grateful for the snug-fitting seat as it makes such a difference to how hard you can push. The ride is also sublime, with the 18s soaking up the worst of the road surface through those generously-sized sidewalls, while the suspension keeps the car so incredibly planted it’s breathtaking. It feels like it’s physically attached to the road surface and is so incredibly controlled over every dip and undulation. I’ve driven a lot of different E9x M3s on a lot of different roads but this might just be one of the best driving experiences I’ve ever had and having to stop and hand back the keys was genuinely upsetting.
Considering just how much equipment this car boasts the price is possibly the most impressive thing about it; John says that to do everything on this car would cost about £12,000 – that’s the lightweight cage, the full exhaust system, the Bilstein Clubsports, the seats, everything. Cherry pick only what you really want and you could come away with a very capable track car that’s still happy on the road for less than that and, with E9x M3 prices continuing to fall, if you’re serious about track driving then it would be a tempting prospect.
It’s relatively easy to make the E9x M3 go faster, stop harder or handle better but to elevate an already capable car to another level of ability and to make such huge improvements across the board, to hone every aspect of the car’s character to the Nth degree, is impressive and exactly what Thorney has achieved.
“So far we’ve not found anyone who can out-break us on track with a BBK”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Thorney-Motorsport / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #Team-Dynamics / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3-Team-Dynamics / #BMW-M3-Team-Dynamics-E92 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E92
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 / #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / , #TMS carbon induction kit, TMS stage three ECU custom map, TMS 3” custom built mandrel bent full exhaust system, FIA race cats, carbon fibre quad tail trims. Six-speed manual gearbox
CHASSIS 10x18” (front) and 11x18” (rear) #Team-Dynamics-Pro-Race-1.2 wheels with 265/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Toyo R888 RR tyres, #Bilstein Clubsport kit with #H&R springs, #Performance-Friction discs and bells (front), Performance Friction PF11 pads (front and rear), TMS braided brake lines (front and rear)
EXTERIOR BMW GT4 rear wing, BMW GT4 front splitter
INTERIOR TMS GTS custom built bolt-in rear cage, TMS front race seats, TMS five-point harness, rear seats removed and interior retrimmed
“Our principle is to take the best bits of the standard car and make them better”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPOWER HUNGRY
The M3 is certainly a powerful car, but this supercharged E90 takes things to another level… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Petrie.
Supercharged E90 M3
When it comes to the E9x M3 we, like a lot of you out there, would likely go for the E92 if given the choice, as the Coupé is arguably the sleeker and sexier car of the two. However, there are plenty of good reasons to opt for the four-door. For starters, if you’re in the family way or are simply looking for greater levels of practicality when it comes to transporting human cargo, the saloon offers up five seats to the coupé’s four.
If you’re not interested in ferrying people about and are more interested in the driving experience then we’d cite the words of one of the #BMW M Fascination Nordschleife instructors we spoke to whilst taking part in the event who, when quizzed as to why he wasn’t driving an E92 M3 Coupé like the rest of us, informed us that the shorter saloon changed direction more quickly, felt stiffer and was better to drive on the track than the E92. His words, not ours. Of course, both cars are as capable as each other but don’t let any of your E92-owning buddies ever talk down to you for having four doors on your M3.
We can’t imagine that’s something that ever happens to Islam ‘Izzy’ Gohar because he’s got an E90 M3 with a supercharger on it, but then again that’s exactly the sort of car you’d expect from the owner of IMG Motorsport, purveyor of some of the finest performance parts you can buy, and someone who has been driving and modifying BMWs since the age of 16. “My first BMW was gifted to me by my parents at the age of 16, having accomplished the required grades to get into engineering school in Europe. It was more than I could handle at that age but I was lucky to attend multiple driving schools where I learned a lot about car control and more.
“The car didn’t last long in its stock form. It was tuned and lowered right away and then a full exhaust system was added to complete my first toy. When I moved to the States in early 2000 after college, I purchased a low mileage E36 M3 from a close friend. The car was a ’99 in Titanium silver over a black leather Vader interior, and had 30k miles on it along with some mods which kept me tame for a couple of months.
“In 2002 I was introduced to Corry Prime by a couple of friends; Corry happened to be (and still is) one of the top three techs for BMW North America and also a race car instructor. We became friends and he helped me get my new baby to where it needed to be, and more. He didn’t just work on the car, he explained everything in depth and advised what to buy and use. I paid good attention to my teacher and learned a lot from him and still do to this day. He built me an amazing M3, which I still own and I started doing track events and fell more in love with my journey with BMW.”
The E36 served as both daily driver and track beast for many years until Izzy decided he fancied a newer BMW, an M3 specifically. However, the long waiting list put him off so he instead purchased a brand-new 135i, which was quickly modified and just as quickly written off by his boss’s son.
This was unfortunate for sure, but it was clearly a sign that it was about time to have another go at getting his hands on an M3. “I went out looking for an E90 M3 and ended up taking over someone’s lease. It took a while to find what I wanted; a slicktop (no sunroof) with no folding rear seats and a six-speed manual in Interlagos blue. When I did find the right car, I closed the deal right away. It had 9k miles on it and was in a very clean condition.” Not only did Izzy start modifying the car straight away, he started buying parts while the car was in transit from Ohio to its new home, some 600-odd miles away in Connecticut, so when it arrived it went straight to Corry. “I’d ordered an Xpipe, exhaust, intake, lowering springs, short shift kit and a tune and Corry had the parts on over the space of a weekend.”
A solid start to any project, and enough to tide most owners over for a while, but Izzy is clearly a guy who doesn’t beat about the bush. “Corry and I soon starting discussing power upgrades. Initially we wanted a stroker built motor but the price and gains didn’t justify it,” he says, “so instead we went for an ESS Supercharger kit and once that was on the car it stayed like that for two years, until it hit 50,000 miles. Then it was time to start pushing the limits,” grins Izzy, and he’s not kidding…
“First up, Corry pulled the engine out and we contacted Mahle Motorsports for custom lower compression pistons, which took eight weeks to build, and at the same time Carrillo rods were also ordered. As soon as the pistons were received, the block was sent to Dinan Engineering out in CA for boring and honing; when everything came back assembly didn’t take more than two weeks with Corry assembling a custom fuel delivery return system, though it took quite some time to get the proper fuel pressure needed for the added power.
“In its first dyno session, running on a custom tune by Asborn ‘AJ’ from ESS Tuning, the car put down 666whp at 12- 13psi.” This is certainly a devilishly good power figure and an impressive increase over what even the most powerful off-the-shelf ESS kit is able to produce. “I was very happy with the power level for a little while but I hurt the motor at an event which I wasn’t prepared for.” Another unfortunate event but naturally if something breaks then that gives you an excuse to do some more modifying so obviously there was only one option…
“At that point we decided to push for more power,” says Izzy, matter-of-factly, “so Corry pulled the engine out and started tearing it apart and inspecting everything. He found one damaged piston due to a bad batch of gas from a no-name petrol station, so we ordered larger diameter pistons from Mahle and sent the block back to Dinan for a second round of boring and honing. At the same time, we sent the cylinder heads to L&M Racing in PA.
Michael, the owner, is a great friend and he got on the heads right away for porting and polishing so the engine could breathe better. Custom valve springs were used to handle 8800rpm. We also sent him the pistons, rods, and crank for balancing the rotating assembly for smoothness and reliability. Everything came in and Corry started assembly and after a week, the motor was ready to go in the car.
“At the same time as all the engine work we decided to add KW V1 coilovers and ditch the lowering springs as well as adding a Brembo Gran Turismo big brake kit with yellow calipers all-round, six-pots up front and four-pots at the rear and 380mm slotted discs all-round. Everything went in smoothly and once the car was back on the road I took it to P1 Motorcars where it made 740whp on the company’s Dynojet dyno.”
Now, that is a vast amount of power, way more than anyone could ever need and probably approaching the limits of what most sane people would actually want but Izzy wasn’t done just yet: “The engine felt like it had more in it so I reached out to Nick and Steve at American Racing Headers and they decided to develop a set of long tube headers for my car, mated to a 3” cat-less resonated X-pipe and an Awron gauge was installed to monitor AFR at all times. Nick installed the headers at his shop at no charge, and the car then went back on the rollers where it put down 785whp and 550lb ft at the wheels, at 13psi on ‘medium boost’.
That makes it the highest horsepower E9x M3 to this day. I’ll eventually turn the boost up once the record is broken by another one,” and he’s not even joking. Considering just how much power this M3 is pushing out (almost 900hp at the crank) it’s a car we’d consider to be pretty darn stealthy from the outside, and yes we have seen the wheels, thanks very much. They’re rather gorgeous Volk TE37s, 9.5x18s up front and beefy 10.5x18s at the back, the fronts barely able to contain those vast six-pot Brembo front calipers, with one of the six-spokes on each wheel sporting the Volk Racing logo on a bright yellow background that matches both the brakes and the intake plenum of the ESS supercharger kit.
“I chose the Volks because of their perfect offset, build quality, and weight; they are forged which makes them very strong – extremely necessary for our bad tri-state roads,” explains Izzy and the fact that they’re also such a good-looking wheel certainly doesn’t do them any harm.
The exterior styling additions amount to no more than a Just M Performance carbon fibre rear spoiler, carbon fibre diffuser and a set of Euro rear lights, while the interior has been treated to an M Performance flat-bottom steering wheel and custom Alcantara-wrapped trim with yellow stitching, tying in perfectly with the yellow elements that appear throughout the car.
Having built such an incredible powerhouse of an M3, Izzy isn’t about to let it go and based on his list of planned modifications it sounds like this E90 will be joining his E36 as a permanent fixture in his collection. “I’m going to add a RKP carbon fibre roof, KW V3 coilovers, AlekShop solid subframe bushes, leather Recaro Sportster CS seats with yellow stitching, Alcantara headlining and I also want to get the car resprayed.”
With those mods done and with an M4 GTS and F10 M5 also on the shopping list, we’d wager that the E90 M3 will retire for as long as it takes for someone to break Izzy’s dyno record. And lord help anyone who does because that’s when he’s going to bring the M3 back, crank up the boost and who knows what’s going to happen then…
Inside, yellow stitching matches the other yellow highlights and there’s an M Performance steering wheel.
There are plenty of yellow highlights on this E90, but the ESS plenum is the biggest and yellowest.
“When I did find the right car I closed the deal right away”
DATA FILE Supercharged #E90 M3 / #BMW-S65 / #S65B40 / #S65 / #L&M-Racing / #S65-Supercharger / #Dinan / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E90 / #V8 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Sedan-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-E90 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 S65B40 , L&M Racing ported and polished heads, custom valve springs, #Mahle-Motorsports pistons, #Carrillo rods, block bored and honed by #Dinan , #ESS-Supercharger kit, American Racing Headers long tube headers, 3" cat-less resonated midsection, #Akrapovic axle back exhaust with carbon tips, six-speed manual gearbox
POWER AND TORQUE 785whp and 550lb ft wtq at 13psi
CHASSIS 9.5x18” (front) and 10.5x18” (rear) #Volk-TE37-SL forged wheels with 265/35 (front) and 295/35 (rear) Continental ExtremeContact DW tyres, #KW-V1 coilovers, #Brembo-Gran-Turismo-BBK with six-pot calipers (front), four-pot calipers (rear) and 380mm slotted discs (front and rear)
EXTERIOR Just M performance carbon fibre boot lip spoiler, Euro rear lights, carbon fibre rear diffuser
INTERIOR M Performance V1 flat bottom steering wheel, Alcantara dash trim with yellow stitchingStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationStylish E93 M3 Convertible
Convertibles can't be shy, meek or discreet, they need to big, bold and proud and an Atlantis E93 M3 is all of those things… Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Rash Bajwa.
Typical. You wait ages for an Atlantis blue feature car and then two come along in a row! Last month we had the pleasure of Brad Wherrett’s turbo E36 and this month it’s the turn of Jags Bath and his E93 M3. As a show regular, you’re likely to have seen Jags’ M3 doing the rounds for years and there’s certainly no missing it, finished as it is in that striking shade of blue.
Atlantis is a rare but much-loved colour, and with good reason, with this Individual shade adding a striking turquoise flash to proceedings. It’s the sort of colour we need to punch through the sea of silver and grey we see day-to-day. It’s the sort of colour that a sun-seeking ’Vert deserves to be finished in, the sort of colour you’d expect to see gliding along a West Coast beach front but which is welcome everywhere.
As seems to be a trend with this month’s features, Jags did not grow up around BMWs at all and, in fact, his first motoring adventures involved Fords – an Orion that his dad bought for him as his first car and later a Sierra Sapphire, the first car Jags bought himself and which, unsurprisingly, had its fair share of mods. But despite his time with the Blue Oval, BMWs have always been close to his heart: “I have been passionate about BMWs since I can remember,” he begins, “as I have been into cars from a very young age and BMWs have always been my favourite. I am very much a petrolhead in the sense that I love all things cars, motorsport and especially modifying cars. I have always been buying mags like Autotrader etc to check out cars and Performance BMW , Max Power, and Fast Car to check out the latest products and ideas on the modding scene.”
Modified BMW ownership was, therefore, inevitable and Jags got his first taste of Bavarian ownership with an E36 M3 Evo Convertible in Estoril blue, his other favourite colour, and at the time his dream car. Not a bad way to get a taste of what BMW has to offer. That he owns another convertible M3 comes as no surprise, though he actually started out looking to buy an M6 before the ample charms of the M3 won him over. “After a short test drive in an E92 M3 I was completely sold on the car; the V8 rumble combined with the handling and grown-up interior and the fact that the car is full of so much tech had done it for me, especially the sound! The M3 has always been my personal favourite BMW so the fact that the E92 was so good and had so many improvements, especially the DCT gearbox, meant it was the only option for me.”
There followed a nine-month long search for the perfect E93, Jags having decided he definitely wanted a convertible, but every dealer he turned to told him the same thing: there were no Individual E93s on the system.
Just as he was about to give up, what seemed to be the perfect car surfaced at a Scottish dealership, an Atlantis blue E93. You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out how the story ended and, after a road trip to Scotland to check out the car Jags arranged to have it delivered to London and that’s where the real adventure began.
“I knew I was going to modify the car before buying it,” laughs Jags, “but I wanted to enjoy the car as it was first, so kept it standard for around a year to enjoy how it drove prior to modifying, and used this time to decide what I wanted.” While Jags was keen to enhance the car’s styling, he didn’t want to go down the route of body kits and, with some help and advice from the #MStyle team in Romford, a whole heap of carbon goodies was obtained and added to the M3.
Up front there’s a carbon splitter, which helps to fill out the bumper plus it looks awesome against the Atlantis bodywork, as does all of the carbon. The kidney grilles and bonnet vents have been changed to carbon items along with the indicators, while the headlights have been treated to a smoke tint.
At the back there’s a carbon diffuser along with an LCI tail-light upgrade, the lenses having also been tinted, and the finishing touches are custom roundels finished in black and Atlantis blue and window tints. The carbon additions alone look fantastic, but the little details really add those finishing touches and make all the difference. It’s also the details that have given the interior a bit more personality and individuality; the custom steering wheel roundel matches the exterior ones, finished in black and Atlantis, while the flatbottomed M Performance steering wheel has been treated to Atlantis stitching and a matching centre stripe. Jags has also added BMPedals brake and accelerator pedals and a matching footrest with M engraving finished in Atlantis blue and finally a pair of BMPedals extended shift paddles with Atlantis plus and minus engravings.
While Jags hasn’t done much on the engine front, he’s added a few underbonnet bits, with a pair of RPI scoops, painted yellow and with custom Atlantis RPI logos, helping to funnel plenty of cool air to a BMC drop-in air filter. And, as there’s a V8 under the bonnet, there has to be an exhaust. “If I have to pick my favourite modification it would be the Eisenmann Race exhaust,” Jags smiles. “Funny, this is one mod I was never planning on doing as I have always liked the way the car sounds, even standard and didn’t want to change it unnecessarily. I first had the OEM mod done to the standard exhaust as I had heard a similar system on a friend’s car at a BMW meet and was impressed by the more aggressive sound.
“After a few months, I decided it was time for a change. I have always wanted an Eisenmann exhaust and when I found that it makes a system for the E93, it was a must!” he exclaims. “I absolutely love the look and sound of the exhaust, two years on and the exhaust note is still just getting better and better,” he adds with a grin. The full fat Race exhaust means maximum volume, with an Evolve X-pipe and primary de-cat, for even more noise and with a V8 under the bonnet, that’s a very good thing indeed.
With styling and soundtrack sorted, we come to the wheels, an essential part of any project. Jags knew he wanted 20s with either a race or performance look to them, not too many spokes and nothing in black. “I was first thinking of going for something like #BBS Le Mans wheels, as I wanted to go for more of a DTM look,” he says, “however after a long time looking I decided to go with a five-spoke wheel, as I have always liked five-spokes – they show off the brakes and calipers well and look best in concave, which is what I wanted as it makes them look more aggressive.
“In the end I decided to go for the Cades Calisto wheels as they ticked all the boxes for me: five-spoke, concave, staggered fitment, and with a diamond cut finish with grey inserts to break it up. Most importantly the wheels went well together with the overall look of the car, which is very important when modifying. The car has to flow and all the various components should complement each other. I feel the wheels added to the car and helped to achieve the look I was going for,” says Jags and we’d have to agree with him there.
Wheel snobs might look down their collective noses at Cades, but if you said the Calisto didn’t look good you’d be straight up lying because it’s a fantastic looking wheel, it really is, and it looks way more expensive than it is, which is definitely an added bonus. The style really suits the M3 perfectly, especially with a drop in ride height courtesy of a set of Eibach springs, and the combo of polished elements and grey areas works so well; it’s a wheel that’s definitely got a lot of presence. And, with those widely spaced spokes, it would have been rude not to give the brakes a bit of a makeover, the calipers having been painted in the same shade of yellow as appears elsewhere on the car. On paper, you might not think that yellow and Atlantis blue would work together but they really do, and with such a bold colour you need some bold elements to grab your attention.
With a selection of choice mods, Jags has put together a fantastic-looking car in a fantastic colour, but he’s far from finished yet, this M3 being very much an ongoing project. His shopping list for future mods include some carbon accessories for the engine. “I’m also planning an #Evolve-Stage-2 remap,” he tells us, “a custom plenum, which has been delayed so many times now, and custom front headlights, which have also been delayed.” Jags is also thinking about trying out some different wheels, as the Cades have been on the car for four years now. All that sounds like an awesome lineup of future mods.
That’s the fantastic thing about the E9x M3, it’s an awesome car straight out-of-the box but start tapping into its potential and the sky really is the limit…
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E93 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E93 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E93 / #BMW-3-Series-E93 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-M3-E93 / #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #BMW /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 S65B40 , RPI air scoops resprayed in yellow with custom #RPI stickers in Atlantis blue, BMC air filter, #Evolve-X-pipe with primary de-cat, #Eisenmann Race exhaust, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox
CHASSIS 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) #Cades-Calisto wheels with 245/30 (front) and 285/25 (rear) #Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta tyres, #Eibach lowering springs, #EBC pads, callipers painted yellow
EXTERIOR Smoked headlights, carbon fibre front splitter, grilles, bonnet vents, indicators, rear diffuser, custom BMW roundels finished in black and Atlantis blue, smoked rear LCI light upgrade, tinted windows
INTERIOR Custom BMW roundels finished in black and Atlantis blue, custom M performance flat bottom steering wheel finished in black leather with Atlantis blue stitching and centre stripe, BMPedals footrest with M engraving and finished in Atlantis blue, BMPedals brake and throttle pedals, #BMPedals shift paddles with Atlantis blue +/- engraving
“The car has to flow and all the various components should complement each other”
20” Cades Calisto wheels look great on the M3, as does all that carbon.
“The M3 has always been my personal favourite BMW”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationROLLOFACE E92 M3
Hardcore wide-body bruiser
Rolloface isn’t one of those companies that will just rush to market with fresh, untested ideas. Sure, this isn’t the first wide-body E92 you’ve seen, but years of development have ensured that it’s one of the best… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Viktor Benyi.
Rolloface wide-body E92 M3
Performance Through Precision’. That’s the company mantra of Rolloface, and it’s one that neatly dovetails with BMW’s own ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’. This is a relatively new company on the scene, establishing itself in the performance aftermarket back in 2012 and putting in a solid few years of R&D before unleashing some frankly staggering hardware into the eager grasp of well-heeled enthusiasts. Its big brake kits are phenomenally effective, the forged wheels are pretty spectacular, and this latest E92 wide-body kit is a brutal work of art. ‘We take immense pride in what we do, just like you,’ asserts the company mission statement. ‘Let’s roll.’
So yes, let’s. The car you see before you effectively draws together the best and brightest of the Rolloface product line-up and allows it to coalesce into one supersharp, laser-sighted racer-for-the-road. Because, while it’s a formidable machine, if you thought the E92 M3 was good enough in factory-stock form, you’re probably reading the wrong magazine.
“The wide-body kit took three years to develop,” says company founder Ken Ho. “We started out with hand sketches, then computer renderings, moving onto clay renderings before, finally, production fibreglass items. We wanted a smoother look than you find with other wide-body kits too, so there are no exposed bolts here; instead, everything’s neatly moulded to the swage line.” The RF GT3 kit comprises front and rear bumpers, front wings and rear quarter panels, vented bonnet, and boot spoiler, with the option of adding various splitters and aero add-ons; indeed, Ken’s proud to say that the design offers genuine downforce, rather than merely looking race car mean.
It’s been extensively tested on track, and offers impressive high-speed stability. This, then, is a track car that just happens to be a road car too. For while the widebody kit is a flawlessly-fitting and genuinely functional piece of work, this is very far from simply being a bunch of fiberglass bolted to an otherwise standard M3. When it comes to company demonstrators, it’d be nuts not to go all-in. “This is our R&D test mule, really,” Ken explains. “And the body is just part of that…”
It only takes a cursory glance beneath those engorged, glossy arches to see just how in-depth the project became. Most obvious under there is the set of forged 19” wheels – Rolloface’s own ZR-1 design, a three-piece split-rim that exudes menace and purpose in equal measure. The specs are all customisable, as you’d expect, and in this instance the M3’s wearing a square setup that’s rocking 12” of width apiece. Which is bonkers, frankly – have you ever seen an E9x running 12s on the front axle? It’s just as well that Ken’s smoothed on such broad bodywork…
This volume of surface area allows a fairly robust contact patch, something Ken’s capitalised on with the deployment of sticky Toyo R888s to maximise the advantage of all that downforce; whereas many RWD hooligans like to kick the tail out and make some smoke, this M3 is all about grip and precision. And with supercar-aping 305- section rubber, there’s certainly plenty of adhesion to be found.
Peeping through the spokes of those ZR-1s, you’ll spot Rolloface’s trump card: those mighty brakes. Again, we’re looking at something that was the subject of years of research and development before the firm was happy to unleash them, and their performance reflects this. The discs are floating two-piece items measuring 380mm all-round, while the calipers are fully forged and sport eight-pistons up front, with six at the rear. With the wheel widths and disc sizes being the same front and back, this is the sort of setup you don’t normally find on cars like this, but it’s evidently all fit for purpose, as its extensive research will attest.
Like the wheels, these brakes are also nearinfinitely customisable and built to your own specs (a three-week delivery time is the trade-off for both performance and uniqueness) and you can even spec the calipers and disc centres in such fancy finishes as Candy Brass, Sparkle Burgundy, camouflage, two-tone fades, you name it. Form and function, working fluidly.
Now, it might seem a bit of a leap to compare this car with a Lotus, but there is one kernel of wisdom from ol’ Colin Chapman’s legacy that fits this build like a glove: ‘Simplify, then add lightness’. Ken and his team have managed to dump an impressive 180kg from the E92’s kerb weight via the brutal and uncompromising method of tearing everything out of the interior and throwing it in the bin. The dash has been replaced by a simple and sophisticated carbon fibre item which was customfabricated by GruppeM (who you might assume is a German firm; it’s actually Japanese), and everything beyond that is, well… missing. No carpets, no soundproofing, no interior trim panels – there’s a pair of bucket seats with harnesses, a meaty green half-cage with harness bar, and that’s about it. Oh, and if you look inside the boot you’ll spot the mighty bracketry for that formidable APR wing.
‘Aggressive’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. With so much weight being shorn, Chapman’s ghost will be mollified that Rolloface didn’t see fit to monkey about with the motor too much. The S65 bent-eight wears a carbon fibre GruppeM intake and a custom titanium exhaust system, but is otherwise stock; the guys estimate it has around 450hp, and every one of those horses makes itself heard with a sonorous bark through those exotic pipes. It’s all it needs to be, and with so much mechanical grip it’s not as if Ken’s frivolously wasting power by spinning the rears up and shimmying the tail on every corner. This thing just points, squats, and goes. And then stops, obviously. Because the brakes are massive.
What’s perhaps most impressive about this car is that, while it’s unashamedly touted as a development car, its fit-and-finish is sufficiently flawless to allow it to happily sit on a show stand and have the crowds gasping with delight. It’s a clear embodiment of the ethos of those customisable brake components, the E92 acts as evidence that you can have form and function in equal, forceful measure. The suspension likes to elbow its way to the front at this point too, as the car’s running a full Air Lift Performance setup.
Any of those naysayers who reckon air-ride is for posers and serious drivers run coilovers may now bitterly eat their collective hats. With the amount of testing this car’s done, it’s pretty safe to say that airbags are up to the task of deploying and controlling whacking great gobs of grunt. BMW’s own power output has only been marginally tickled here, but Rolloface’s reimagining of the M3 platform proves that all that power was pretty much enough, and the way to amp the thing up is to strip out some mass and find means to get the power down more efficiently. All very old-skool thinking. Right, Ken? “Well, actually we’re looking to turbocharge it next,” he grins.
Honestly. Some people don’t know when to stop, do they? We get the feeling that three years of R&D is just the beginning for these guys – who knows how insane this M3 may become in the future? All the signs are pointing toward the answer being ‘really quite insane indeed’, but there’s one thing we can be totally sure of: it’ll be looking utterly flawless throughout. Performance through precision? Yep, that ties it up in a neat little bundle. Rolloface’s story is only just beginning.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Rolloface / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3-Rolloface / #BMW-M3-Rolloface-E92 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body / #BMW-M3-Wide-Body-E92 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-E92 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 , #GruppeM carbon fibre intake, custom titanium exhaust system (de-catted when on track), six-speed manual gearbox, est 450hp
CHASSIS 12x19” (front & rear), #Rolloface-ZR-1 three-piece forged wheels with 305/30 (front & rear) Toyo R888 tyres, Air-Lift-Performance-3H air-ride, #Rolloface-SR-C-BBK with eight-pot (f) & six-pot (r) forged calipers with 380mm two-piece floating discs, Pagid-RS pads
EXTERIOR #Rolloface-RF-GT3 wide-body kit comprising front & rear bumpers, front wings, rear quarter panels, vented bonnet, boot spoiler, carbon fibre side skirts, carbon fibre front splitter, adjustable #APR-GT-50 rear wing
INTERIOR Stripped full carbon fibre dash, Recaro driver seat with Sparco harness, Rolloface passenger seat with Takata harness, green half-cage, rear wing mounts in boot floor
“This is our R&D test mule really and the body is just part of that…”
“We wanted a smoother look than you find with other wide-body kits”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationMild-mannered 120d transformed into #V8-powered 1M Monster.
SMASHING! Body shock!
What started out life as a humble #BMW-120d is now unrecognisable following its transformation into an awesome V8-powered 1M, finished in Java green and with an M DCT gearbox. From mild-mannered 120d to hulking V8-powered 1M, this 1 Series has undergone an incredible transformation and the results are astonishingly spectacular. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods.
Subtle is fine. Subtle works when you just want to get on with stuff discreetly, blending into the background and going unnoticed and unbothered. But sometimes, you need to be unsubtle. Sometimes you need something to wake you up from the dull, grey drudgery of life. Sometimes you need a Java green V8-powered smack in the mouth. That time is now.
One might argue that Nina Barber’s 1M is subtle; there is, for example, no wild wing, no outrageous wheels, no vents or bulges beyond those which the 1M was created with, and even the exhaust is surprisingly civil. But a 1M finished in shocking green, and it really is very green, with a V8 numberplate is car that wears its heart on its sleeve. And we’re all for that.
Nina is a woman who grew up in an environment filled with people passionate about cars, so it’s easy to how she’s ended up here, talking to us about her V8 1M. “I started to become passionate about cars in my early 20s,” she says. “My uncle races Porsches, my dad has always been into Lamborghinis and American muscle cars, and my mum has always had BMWs – which is what got me into the marque. She had an E30 when I was born followed by some M models. I remember the first time I drove a BMW, her BMW, I felt at home and knew that’s where I belonged. My first BMW was a 130i, which replaced an MX-5. That was a lot of fun to drive but I wanted more power and speed and after driving my mum’s 130i I knew I had to have one. After the 130i I bought a Z4 M, a car I’d always wanted as whilst I was growing up my mum owned a Roadster. It was very nice but compromised. So I started thinking about what to get next?
An S54 Z3 M or E46 M3 CSL? Maybe, but prices were so high and you can’t put miles on those cars without harming their value, and while I’ve always loved the E92 M3 I prefer smaller cars…” We think you can see where this is going.
“I followed Sebastian online. He owned the blue V8 1M that Ashley at Quarry Motors had built and originally owned, and I realised that was the car I wanted. I approached him about buying it and it turned out he was emigrating so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to try and arrange a sale and it fell through but a friend of mine knew the guys at Quarry so approached them on my behalf to see if they’d be willing to build another V8 1M. I travelled up to Sheffield, met Ashley, had a chat and decided on the spot to go ahead with the project.” For this build, Nina was very specific about what she wanted, a fullyloaded car with DCT. The following day, the perfect M3 donor car showed up on Quarry’s doorstep. The planets had aligned…
The car you see before you started out life as a 120d; the original Quarry car was built from a written-off 118d, but Nina wanted hers to be built from a straight car and it was actually sourcing the right 1 Series to build on that took some time. The entire project was handled by Ashley at Quarry from start to finish, leaving Nina to concentrate on working out the particulars.
The most stressful part of the whole build was trying to decide on a colour. “I’ve never been so indecisive about anything in my life!” she exclaims. “I must have changed my mind about 20 times. Initially I considered a Lamborghini colour, then a Porsche colour, but then I decided I wanted a BMW colour. For ages I was set on Taiga green but after seeing James’ Java green M4 at a show I instantly knew that was the colour I wanted.
Taiga is nice but it’s paler and is better suited to a boxy classic car. Java is perfect for a modern shape like the 1 Series and really suits the car.” She’s not wrong, as that intense Java is a full-on smack in the mouth, an eye-widening shot of sheer colour. And in the sunlight it’s even more fantastic, the colour drenching the bodywork and accentuating all of the curves. And there are a lot of those to accentuate on a 1M.
The colour was the inspiration behind the car’s name, by which it is best known on social media. “I wanted to name it and was talking to Ashley about it when he suggested Bruce, as in Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego. I love this concept, the dichotomy of character, and it ties in with the green colour, so it was perfect.”
While Bruce was being constructed, it also gave Nina the opportunity to finalise her pans for the interior: “I had considered different colours like red and tan, but then I wouldn’t have been able to do the green accent stitching that I’ve got now. It really lifts the interior, as without it I was worried it would all be too dark.” B-Trim in north London handled all the interior work and the end result is fantastic, the black being the perfect partner for that vibrant green, both inside and out, and the colour-coded detailing is the perfect finishing touch. The door panels, instrument binnacle, which houses the E9x M3 dials, and steering wheel have all been wrapped in Alcantara and both the heated front seats, plucked straight from the M3, and rear seats have Alcantara accent strips. The gear selector and start button surrounds have been finished in Java green and so too have the extended aluminium gearshift paddles on the steering wheel and even the seatbelts are green, while the carbon trim echoes the carbon elements on the exterior. “I didn’t want a half-done interior,” says Nina. “I decided to go all-out and do it right first time. It was the same with the whole car. It had to be complete out-of-the-box. I didn’t want people to see a half-finished car so I made sure everything was done in one go.”
Of course it’s the 1M body conversion that really takes centre stage here and you have to appreciate just how much work has gone in to transforming this car from humble 120d to fully-fledged performance monster. “My criteria for the build was that the car had to be executed as if BMW had built it,” Nina explains. “I can’t stand it when people do things by halves. For me it has to be done properly. The rear arches, for example, aren’t welded on; they’re complete new rear quarter sections, which is exactly the way BMW would have built the car and exactly how I wanted it to be built.” Indeed, the quality of Quarry’s work really is exceptional. There is absolutely no way that you’d be able to tell that this car had ever been anything other than a 1M. It really is perfect. The muscular styling is further enhanced by the addition of a BMW M Performance carbon bootlip spoiler and that unmistakable M3 power bulge bonnet. “I knew I had to have the power bulge bonnet,” says Nina. “It changes the whole look of the car for me, so I went for a Seibon carbon one designed specifically for the 1M. It’s fully functional, just like the M3 bonnet would be, so the offside vent is blocked off while the nearside vent connects up to the air box as a secondary cold air feed. The bonnet latches down like the standard one, but the problem is that the carbon is so much more flexible than the steel bonnet. The first time I drove it the bonnet was flexing so much at motorway speeds that I knew immediately I had to add some AeroCatches. Fitting them was tricky as the bonnet is curved and you want them to sit flush rather than sticking up, but they look perfect and really keep the bonnet down. The fitment of the carbon bonnet isn’t perfect, though, and I would love to have a metal one made but it would have to be aluminium. The standard M3 bonnet is steel and I really don’t know why BMW didn’t use a lightweight bonnet; I’ve saved quite bit of weight with the carbon bonnet so I wouldn’t want to go for a steel one, especially as the S65 V8 is just 7kg heavier than the N54 but actually sits lower down and further back in the chassis giving the car better weight distribution.
“When it came to the wheels I did consider a few different designs but the Style 359 is my favourite BMW wheel, so that’s what I went with. I think this style of wheel looks fantastic on a modern car and really finishes it off, so the wheels are definitely staying for now,” she says. “I might change the colour as I’m not sure about the black but it does look good against the green and ties in nicely with the black accents on the body. I’ve currently got the standard size tyres, 245/35 and 265/35 Toyo R888s, but I’d like to go to a 265/295 front/rear setup as they’ll really fill the arches out and I don’t want to use spacers to achieve that.”
If you own a V8 it’s pretty much the law that you have to fit a performance exhaust because it’s an engine that never sounds anything less than fantastic. And Nina’s 1M definitely doesn’t disappoint on the aural stimulation front. “I didn’t want to go all-out with an off-the-shelf exhaust as I’d like a custom system at some point, but I still wanted something that sounded good,” says Nina. “At the moment it’s running a Milltek 1M rear silencer, which has been designed for a turbocharged engine rather than a naturally aspirated V8, along with some M3 sections and a bit of custom pipework to connect it all together. I did have it fully de-catted at one point and I loved how obnoxiously loud it was, but it absolutely stank of fuel and after every drive the exhaust tips were black. I got fed up with it and had the cats put back in; while it’s definitely quieter the tone is nicer now and I prefer the way it sounds. I would still like a full system at some point but I’m content for the time being.” It does sound absolutely fantastic, with a boisterous cold idle that is guaranteed to slap a grin on your face, but delivers a surprisingly civilised soundtrack once it’s warmed-up. Of course, at full chat it delivers exactly the sort of spine-tingling, high-revving V8 howl that you want, overlaid with numerous pops and crackles. It’s Mozart for the motorhead.
Even now, nine years on since its debut in the E9x M3, the S65 V8 is still an absolute masterpiece of an engine. “I love the power delivery,” grins Nina as we indulge in a long chat about V8s. “It really does pull like a train. I love the way the power delivery is so linear and the way the power just keeps on coming once you’re at the top end of the rev range. Mine is very healthy. I’ve heard that a lot of M3s don’t even make 400hp on the dyno but mine made 426hp without the cats, so it’s probably around the 420 mark now.
As far as the gearbox is concerned, I’ve always been a manual enthusiast but I decided to drive both a manual and DCT M3 to see what the engine and gearbox combination felt like and I have to say that the manual car did nothing for me. The way the engine delivers its power means that the DCT ’box just feels so much better suited to it. I’m so glad I went for the DCT, I absolutely love the gearbox and the combination with the S65 is just perfect.”
To you or us the car might look as complete as can be but for Nina this is only the beginning of her 1M adventure. “It was a year long journey to get to the car built,” she says, “and I finished in January of this year.
However, for the last six months I’ve been refining and tweaking it and there’s still lots more I want to do. I’m planning to add a carbon race diffuser and front lip as well as a carbon roof, which I feel the factory 1M should have come with, like the M3. The suspension isn’t finished at the moment; it’s currently on M3 EDC shocks with Eibach springs. I like how it sits but I would like coilovers at some stage. I’m not sure what to go for, though, and I don’t want to just buy something that might not be right for it. I’m going to spend the coming months, the whole year even, learning the car, educating myself on what it wants before buying anything so I know I’ll be fitting the right parts when the time comes. I also love motorsport and while the car has started its journey like this it will evolve as time goes on, so I might well strip it and put a cage in it at some point. I’ll probably add a wing then as well. I would also really like to supercharge it at some point but at the same time I want to refine it first, make it the best it can be in its current form before I start doing any power upgrades. I do love the fact that the car will continue to evolve. That keeps me enthusiastic about it and ensures it doesn’t get stale.”
Which brings us neatly to the question of how long Nina thinks this relationship will last, though we feel bad asking the question seeing as the car’s such a recent build. “At the moment it really does feel like it’s a forever car,” she says. “I have so much time, effort, and emotion invested in it that I can’t ever imagine selling it. I don’t even want to think about that. From the moment the car was finished people started getting in touch asking if I would sell it. I’ve had so many people asking me about buying it that I’ve lost count. Initially I was a bit offended; I couldn’t believe that people would think I’d want to sell a car I’d just finished.”
While there might be lots more to come, there’s plenty to enjoy right now and that’s exactly what this car was built for. “This car was all about doing something purely for my own enjoyment. I didn’t want to worry about mileage, money or depreciation, I just wanted to build a car that I could go and enjoy driving. And that’s exactly what I’ve got. I do drive it based on the weather as I don’t want to take it out in the rain. So it’s a fair weather weekend toy for me and as it’s just been finished I am precious over it. I hate getting stone chips on it, though the whole front end has been covered in Suntek paint protection film so it’s not too bad. I guess it’s just inevitable. I have lots of plans, too. I want to take it to Europe. I’m currently looking for places to go and enjoy driving it,” grins Nina. That’s really what it’s all about. You don’t build a car like this to only hide it away or simply park it up at shows for other people to enjoy. You build it to enjoy driving it and there are few machines out there capable of delivering greater driving pleasure than a V8 1M.
DATA FILE #V8 #BMW-1M / #BMW / #BMW-E82 / #BMW-1-Series-E82 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1M-E82 / #BMW-E82-S65B40 / #BMW-1M-S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #BMW-E82-V8 / #BMW-Style-359-Competition / #BMW-1M-M-DCT / #BMW-120d-E82 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 #S65B40 from E92 M3, 1M #Milltek back box, part custom and part OEM M3 exhaust system, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox from E92 M3
CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #BMW-Style-359 Competition alloys with 245/35 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, E92 M3 brakes with Java green calipers (front and rear), E92 M3 EDC with #Eibach springs
EXTERIOR Full OEM 1M conversion, full bare shell respray in Individual Java green metallic, gloss black trim, Seibon carbon fibre bonnet with AeroCatches, BMW M Performance carbon fibre bootlip spoiler, Blackline rear lights, Suntek paint protection film
INTERIOR Full retrim consisting of extended black Nappa leather with green stitching and Alcantara accents, Alcantara gear selector, handbrake gaiters and door cards, steering wheel retrimmed in Alcantara with Motorsport stiching and green 12 o’clock centre stripe, extended aluminium paddles in Java green metallic with illuminated plus and minus signs, Java green start button bezel, #Java-green #DCT gear selector surround, heated E92 M3 front seats, BMW Performance carbon fibre trim, #BMW-Individual audio with #Harman-Kardon speakers
THANKS A massive thank you to Quarry Motors, especially Ashley and Lee for agreeing to take on this project with me. Ashley is responsible for building me a spectacular, unique car that has been executed as if #BMW itself built it. Sam for initially sowing the seed and getting the ball rolling. To my biggest support, I must extend huge gratitude to Nick who has been my anchor throughout this journey. My mum who gracefully endured my countless indecisions. To all my great friends who have offered their support and advice, I thank you; Silas ‘Mr B’, Vaughan the Prawn, Richard and Sebastian with Bruce’s twin ‘the blue car’, Steven ‘Horney’, Paul ‘Mumbers’, Kos, Mason, Marsel and the rest of my big BMW family. B-Trim, Elite Car Care, Evolve Automotive, Mox3d, Mumbray Motorsport, Munich Evolution, Munich Legends, Olgun Kordal – The Car Photographer, Pukar Designs, Royal Steering Wheels, Secure My Car and SMV Repairs, Taylor Made Decals
Java green is stunning and really suits the perfectlyexecuted 1M conversion, while the glorious #S65-V8 is the icing on the cake.
“I love the power delivery. It really does pull like a train. I love the way it is so linear and the power just keeps on coming”
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